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Success on the run

Burbank High's McKenzie Paul learned to appreciate cross-country, and her new found dedication led to success

December 24, 2010|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(File photo )

Rain is coming down in sheets, making the streets and sidewalks around Burbank High wet and slippery.

Most normal people have sought refuge in their homes, or shelter themselves under the protection of an umbrella, in an attempt to keep dry.

But for Burbank track and field and cross-country standout McKenzie Paul — and a group of Bulldogs runners — the rain only serves as a minor distraction. Paul has training to get in, and a little precipitation isn't going to stop her from completing her six-mile run.

"I'm trying to come back after being sick for a few weeks, so I have to get my training in," said Paul, a senior. "It's just a little rain, it's not really that bad."

Through rain, cold weather and sweltering temperatures well over the 100-degree mark, Paul pushed through it all in order to stay competitive during the 2010 girls' cross-country season.

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"McKenzie is definitely one who aims to please," said Burbank Coach Trevor Marca. "She wants you to be proud of her, and that's very important to her. That really makes her very competitive."

There will be no winter break for Paul, who just completed a successful cross-country season. Marca said his runner will train six days a week, running six to eight miles a day, to get her ready for the 2011 track and field season, which is still nearly three months away.

Paul also braved a season that included a fine group of runners in the Pacific League, a talented field in the CIF Southern Section Division I finals and stiff competition in the Mount San Antonio Invitational Individual Sweepstakes race.

Through it all, Paul ran to impressive times, helped lead the Bulldogs girls' team to CIF competition and came just five seconds away from qualifying for the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships.

It is because of those accomplishments that Paul has been named the 2010 All-Area Girls' Cross-Country Runner of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.

Before this season, it's safe to say Paul didn't exactly have an affection for distance running. A two-time Pacific League champion in the 800 meters, Paul saw cross-country as a necessary evil in order to help her get in shape for the track and field campaign.

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